This just keeps getting stranger and stranger. The Prince George’s County Council voted 8-0 *against* a study that would determine whether or not it would be worth it for the county to help pay for the stadium. Council Chairwoman Marilyn Bland, who was originally a backer of the plan, folded like a lawn chair and voted with everyone else against the proposal.
Now, let’s be clear. This proposal was originally to authorize the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue the sale of bonds to pay for 75% of the estimated $195M stadium, with DC United paying for the other 25%. The proposal at some point was changed so that PG County would be on the hook for 25% as well [there is some debate whether that was always the case and just not mentioned, or whether it was changed]. Which, understandably, raised a lot of eyebrows with the PG council. So the proposal was then further amended so that it would only create a study to see if bonds should be involved.
Note that the Maryland Stadium Authority completed a study last September that quite thoroughly investigated exactly how much revenue could be expected from the stadium. I’ve seen some people say that it is full of inaccuracies. I don’t believe so. And you’re better off looking for yourself so go check it out the financials start on page 85. It is actually the first such study that took into account a realistic number of events held at the stadium, instead of the DC Council’s repeated ignorance of “they only play 15 home games!”
So what the council vetoed was the additional study. What that says to me is that the council thinks that the MSA’s study is completely bogus. So bogus and wrong that they don’t even want to bother trying to find out what they think the “real” numbers may be.
So what now? Well, I suppose there is some small chance that the state legilature might go ahead with it even though the PG council vetoed it. I dont think that’s very likely. DC United’s official stance is that it will look at other jurisdictions. According to the Journal article linked at the top Montgomery County may be willing, and Fairfax and Loudon are also possibilities. Finding a metro accessible place in those counties will be harder though. Montgomery and Fairfax counties would be reasonable places, but the cost of land is through the roof. Loudon would be the least expensive place to build, but the farthest from anything else. And the template for DC United’s stadium has always been as a center of other development around it. That is harder to do in Loudon.
And before people say “How about DC?” I’m here to tell you that’s not an option. Asshat Mayor Fenty already screwed the pooch on that one. DC United said several years ago “We will pay for and build the entire stadium and surrounding development. All you have to do is pay for infrastructure.” Which Fenty at first said yes, then pulled the plug by putting it up for open bid on a smaller plot of land. He said he was looking out for the citizens of DC and making sure they didn’t get fleeced. Whatever. Clarke Construction eventually won the bid and then had to pull out because of the economy. So now DC, and specifically Ward 8, got nothing. Way to go Fenty.
Other sites in DC (including RFK) are a non-starter if there isn’t room for additional development next to the stadium. RFK stadium itself is not a viable option. It is falling apart and the only reason it hasn’t been leveled yet is because DC United is still using it. There isn’t enough revenue for the team to make a profit, and it costs too much to run for the city, so it’s a lose/lose for both sides.
Really, this whole thing is so depressing I probably won’t bring it up again until the team either breaks ground on a new stadium or the moving vans pull up to take the team to St. Louis.MLB ruined it for everybody by taking the city of DC to the cleaners and making the city pay for the stadium AND then not paying rent on it. Danny Boy made PG county bitter by having this hulking behemoth of a stadium out in the middle of nowhere with no additional development nearby (PG county doesn’t want a repeat). How is it that a team that has been a champion in domestic and international tournaments, a good tenant in RFK, a good member of the community (United for DC, etc), and with a loyal fanbase gets the shaft like this?